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Between Corporatism and Lobbyism: German Welfare Associations in Transition

Author: KATRIN TOENS
Published in GPS, Vol. 4 No. 2

German welfare associations are traditionally functioning as a key
pillar of the welfare state. For about a century now they have been
part of a tight meso-corporatist arrangement, supplying them with a
privileged legal status in exchange for social service provision in
many areas of the welfare state. In recent years, however, welfare
corporatism has become challenged due to the integration of market
elements into the welfare state as well as processes of state
transformation that gave rise to the “managerial state”. The contribution
focuses on the underlying forces of this development as well
as its impact on welfare corporatism and the deriving modes of
advocacy interest representation. It is argued that recent processes
of state-transformation as well as Europeanisation have contributed
to the change of welfare corporatism into a more flexible arrangement,
including welfare lobbying. The lobbying activities of welfare
associations, however, do not signal the abandonment of the
corporatist arrangement. On the contrary, lobbying on the European
level of politics is used to repel the destructive consequences
of the managerial state back home. Thus, lobbying provides a
means to protect and to advance welfare corporatism in an overall
climate of insecurity and competition.

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